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July 8, 2005

A Salon article on regulating bloggers

-- by Gary Boatwright

The author is hardly a household name, but a tiny few may remember him as the self described reporter with the Columbia Journalism Review who accused Markos of a breach of ethics for reporting the results of exit polls in the 2004 election before the polls closed.

The author was a fool then and he's a fool now. His latest offering at Salon is Beware of the "Halli-bloggers"!: If bloggers get the same press freedoms as traditional media, what will prevent corporations like Halliburton from using blogs to pour unregulated money into politics? (watch 30 second ad for day pass)

Dude's article isn't worth wasting 30 seconds of your time, but you can also get up to date on the latest Tom Tomorrow cartoons, including a great new Sensible Liberal cartoon, Circular Logic.

The only interesting and relevant part of the whole article was the explanation for why Dave started calling Seeing the Forest a Web Magazine a short time ago. Dude quotes an anonymous blogger at The Talent Show (since the author didn't identify the blogger at The Talent Show, I went back and removed any mention of the author's name so he could remain anonymous as well. It's petty I know. But I decided the author is petty, so I yielded to my baser nature):

Starting either late today or tomorrow, I will relaunch (without any fanfare whatsoever) my new web magazine, The Talent Show ... The look of the site, the writing style, the subject matter, the content, and the technological back end will be identical to what I'm using now, but the change (as least as far as the FEC is concerned) will be drastic." Atrios quickly picked up the theme: His site now bears a prominent -- and semi-mocking -- tagline, identifying it as "An Online Magazine of News, Commentary, and Editorial."
It was a slightly curious change, but it wasn't remarkable enough to tweak my curiosity.

The author postulates the slippery slope threat of corporate blogs to campaign finance reform laws from inundating the blogosphere with slick commercials. Here's my last quote from the article:

But the example that was given in the hearing, of the Halliburton blog, I mean, who's gonna read that?"

What on earth does Halliburton have to say that is going to be compelling? How is Halliburton going to attract anyone? A cash kickback with every visit? What can Halliburton do or say on the internet that wasn't done and said by right wingnut bloggers during the last election?

At the end of the day regulating bloggers is based on chicken little fears that the sky is falling. Bob Brigham at Swing State Project responded to this tom foolery last month. Kos called it IPDI nonsense. Chris Bowers at MyDD called the FEC's play in February, Congress Moves To Destroy Netroots.

Why on earth is Salon wasting bandwidth on this fool and recycling his nonsense? Are they trying to go mainstream?

Posted by Gary Boatwright at July 8, 2005 9:25 PM

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